The fifth annual All Army matches, hosted at Fort Benning by the Army Marksmanship Unit is now history.
LTG Freakley addressed the participants iterating the importance of organized shooting. He listed marksmanship and gun handling as a critical but overlooked skill among soldiers and felt that participation in matches as a useful way to improve. His sentiment echoes written Army regulation, despite the sad fact that much of the military leadership fails to realize it.
It is one thing to practice or qualify and it is something else to shoot for real. Losing a match isn’t nearly as painful as losing a fight, but competing for a title, trophy or prize puts a level of pressure on your shooting that training and practice never can. If something can go wrong it eventually will. Having that something cost you only points is a cheap lesson learned.
More important, the drive to succeed among your peers in friendly competition will inspire most people to work harder than a minimum qualification can. Unlike the fake attempts to teach attention to detail typically doled out by the uninformed, such as those used during initial training, these details are actually useful.
Which detail strikes you as more valuable?
- Learning to dope conditions and make first round hits out to 500 yards.
- Arranging a foot locker and rolling boot socks.
Despite the crushing ignorance of marksmanship throughout the military, it is reassuring that a few bastions of experts continue to exist and promote high level shooting skills.